Wednesday 18 February 2015

A safe and proper tournament

The practice, also called courtsiding (it first emerged in tennis), is not illegal, but the gambling markets it serves, mostly in India, usually are. The International Cricket Council (ICC) prohibits it in the fine print of its match tickets and would rather avoid the unsavoury association.
Police help the ICC make sure of it. Specially-trained plain-clothes officers are patrolling New Zealand matches through their mandate with the ICC and the Government to help deliver a safe and proper tournament. Essentially it is the same powers they have in evicting a drunk person, but it speaks of the seriousness with which pitchsiding is treated. All the men kicked out of Hagley Oval on Saturday were banned from other World Cup matches and face arrest if they try to gain entry. Past this, however, they are not in criminal trouble.
So says The Press.

The fine print on the entry tickets to my house note that, as condition of entry, if the guests are there as we put the kids to bed at 7:30 pm, the kids will likely ask them to sing bedtime songs. Some guests have been reluctant to do so, and we've not pressed the issue. But now that we know that the police are happy to enforce general Terms and Conditions of entry, well, that guests sing for their supper will be better enforced.

Seriously, though: what specifically authorises the New Zealand Police Force to go around looking for breaches of ticket terms and conditions? Why did anybody think this was an appropriate use of police resources?

The police lament their resourcing issues when they argue that all the bars should close at ridiculously early hours: Basically, nobody should be allowed to be out late because it makes rostering too hard for the cops. And yet they've time to send plainclothes detectives out to stop people from telling other people that a bat hit a ball?

If the ICC were running the nightclub-bouncer part of the operation, then asking the Police to enforce trespass orders against those they didn't want at the matches, I could understand it. But sending in cops to watch for breach of ticket terms and conditions?

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